Bed Bugs Can Carry Germs and Diseases

Bed Bugs Can Carry Germs and Diseases | Maine Bed Bugs and Pest ControlIn the last several years we have seen a skyrocketing surge of bed bugs in both the United States and worldwide. Several decades ago bed bugs were nearly extinct due to DDT, a pesticide that has since been discovered to be quite toxic and no longer in use. It’s thought that increased worldwide travel has also increased the bed bug presence, since they are known to travel from environment to environment in luggage and can hide for weeks or even months without feeding.

The bugs are not discriminating, either. While some believe bed bugs are a sign of a dirty environment and that they are found frequently in lower income housing, the fact is bed bugs have been found everywhere from five star hotels to hospitals. More than just a nuisance and very difficult to get rid of, some new studies indicate that bed bugs can actually carry germs and diseases, making them a potential threat to humans.

The Center for Disease Control Investigates

There has been a lot of speculation as to the health hazards of bed bugs. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has investigated the potential for bed bug disease transmission by studying hospitalized patients of low income areas in Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia. Patients and residents of a low income area were admitted to a nearby hospital and found to be infested with bed bugs. When testing the bed bugs for diseases, several bugs carried bacteria consistent with VRE (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium) and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). These are drug-resistant, difficult to treat and potentially life threatening infections.

Bed Bug Hazards

Since bed bugs feed on human blood and must pierce the skin to feed, it’s logical to wonder if the bed bugs can pass diseases along through this intrusive feeding process. Specifically, there have been multiple investigations and continued research on the possibility of bed bugs transmitting blood-borne pathogens for diseases like HIV and hepatitis. No conclusive evidence has shown that the bugs transmit diseases this way.

While the bed bugs have not been proven to actually transmit diseases, they “have the potential to act as vectors for the transmission,” meaning the bugs could carry and passively spread the bacteria and germs that cause potentially lethal diseases like MRSA. It is not clear where the bugs physically carry the bacteria and research is ongoing, though there are theories and precautions to take.

Bed bugs could leave behind bacteria and germs on the skin after they bite and feed. Their bites can cause skin abrasions and microscopic cuts, or the person could scratch and open the bite, giving way to more opportunities for bacteria and germs to be introduced to the body. The concern for this is greatest in low income urban areas, such as where the studied patients live, and where diseases likecommunity-spread MRSA and bed bug infestations are more prevalent.

Defend Your Home and Your Health

Bed Bugs Can Carry Germs and Diseases | Maine Bed Bugs and Pest ControlTo prevent the annoyance and potential health hazard of the bed bug, it’s important to seek professional help immediately after you see a bed bug or signs of an infestation. Although bed bugs can be difficult to get rid of, the more the infestation has a chance to grow, the more difficult the little critters are to eradicate. A professional expert like Maine Bed Bugs and Pest Control can step in and take your home back. By using heat treatments, bed bugs and their eggs are eliminated with no necessary tenting and no residue left behind.

Call the pros today at (207) 650-8654.